Subscribe to Holyrood updates

Newsletter sign-up

Subscribe

Follow us

Scotland’s fortnightly political & current affairs magazine

Subscribe

Subscribe to Holyrood
by Joseph Anderson
19 May 2022
CND says SNP's NATO stance is a 'slippery slope'

CND says SNP's NATO stance is a 'slippery slope'

The Scottish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) has said the SNP’s NATO stance is a “slippery slope” which could lead to Scotland having a “Guantanamo-type role” for NATO’s nuclear weapons.

On a recent trip to the USA, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon re-affirmed her belief that an independent Scotland could join the NATO military alliance, in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

However, CND says this contradicts the SNP’s policy of removing the UK’s nuclear weapons base at Faslane, given NATO is a nuclear alliance and might require the nuclear base to remain as a condition of Scotland’s hypothetical membership.

Recently, SNP defence spokesperson Stewart McDonald told the BBC an independent Scotland could temporarily host nuclear weapons.

McDonald said: “We would join on similar terms of Norway or Denmark, in that we don't want to permanently host nuclear weapons from other states, but we certainly will take our commitments as new members of the alliance seriously. We will be a nuclear-free member of NATO like most member states.”

When pressed on whether Scotland would accept nuclear-armed subs, McDonald said: “You don't host them permanently, but there are rules around the visiting of nuclear facilities, whether they be nuclear weapons themselves or just nuclear-powered submarines in peace time.

"I'm not suggesting for a minute that we would turn our backs on what would be expected of us as an alliance member, but we very clearly wouldn't become a permanent base for nuclear weapons.”

In response to McDonald’s comments, Scottish CND tweeted: “Like all SNP parliamentarians, Mr McDonald has signed the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons Parliamentary [sic] in support of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons but it seems that he is not familiar with its terms, in particular, that treaty members must not ‘assist, encourage or induce, in any way, anyone to engage in any activity prohibited to a state party under this treaty’ or ‘allow any stationing, installation or deployment of any nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices in its territory or at any place under its jurisdiction or control’.

“Mr McDonald’s words raise an inevitable question. Is he trying to force a change in SNP policy? We now expect an unequivocal re-assurance from the party leadership that its zero tolerance of nuclear weapons is unchanged and that accession to the TPNW remains a priority.

“Otherwise we are looking at a very slippery slope in which the anti-nuclear stance is watered down to a point that is meaningless and could end in the acceptance of a Guantanamo-type role for the Clyde bases.

“This would be a disastrous betrayal of the hopes so many Scots have for a new Scotland to be rid of these hideous weapons of mass slaughter.”

The SNP has been contacted for comment.

Holyrood Newsletters

Holyrood provides comprehensive coverage of Scottish politics, offering award-winning reporting and analysis: Subscribe

Read the most recent article written by Joseph Anderson - Boris Johnson: 'Cost-of-living relief is a matter for next PM'

Stay in the know with our fortnightly magazine

Stay in the know with our fortnightly magazine

Subscribe

Popular reads
Back to top